11/03/2012 07:00 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Economic Contrast for Cities


Co-written with Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee; Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Tampa; Mayor Michael Coleman, Columbus; Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver; Mayor Stephanie Miner, Syracuse; Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia; Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore; Mayor R. T. Rybak, Minneapolis; Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles

As mayors representing America's great cities, we look for a partner in the White House who will help us recover, rebuild and move forward. We have that partner -- and leader -- in President Barack Obama and we believe he has earned a second term.

As he took office, we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month and on the brink of depression. Businesses were shutting down. Neighborhoods sunk underwater in foreclosure. Schools were laying off teachers, and cities risked losing hardworking firefighters and police officers. President Obama stepped in and stopped the bleeding. His Recovery Act kept those teachers, firefighters and policies on the job. It helped us leverage federal investments to put Americans to work fixing our bridges, roads and transit infrastructure.

He cut taxes for working families, helping our residents buy homes and send their children to college. He also extended unemployment benefits for displaced workers, helping put money back into the local economy as folks got back onto their feet. The President's bold action supported as many as 3.5 million jobs in 2010 and laid the foundation for our economic recovery.

He bet on our workers and rescued the automobile industry from collapse, saving one million jobs. He cut taxes 18 times for our small business so they could hire and grow. He cracked down on Wall Street and put a consumer cop on our beat to protect our residents from predatory lenders and credit card abuses. He's helping us raise standards and reform our schools with no new federal mandates and investing in our local communities colleges to they can train workers to meet the needs of our local industries. And Obamacare means our residents won't go broke when they get sick.

He's changing the way that Washington helps cities execute their economic development visions. He created the first White House Office of Urban Affairs and launched, for the first time in 30 years, a review of how federal policy can better serve urban areas. For example, his Strong Cities, Strong Communities program is strengthening public-private partnerships to work on the most difficult issues faced by cities.

We've come a long way and we are better off than we were four years ago. But we know have more work to do -- and that's what the President's concrete and achievable plan for a second-term is all about.

He's got a clear plan to create one million manufacturing jobs and double our exports -- by ending tax breaks that rewards outsourcing instead of insourcing American jobs and enforcing our trade laws so our local manufacturers can compete on a level playing field.

He would increase our energy independence by producing more homegrown energy, from wind and solar to oil, clean coal and natural gas. That'll be a boon for our cities that can attract businesses, create jobs and make our cities safer and more sustainable.

He knows that every city's greatest asset is an educated workforce, which is why his plan would train 2 million more Americans at our great community colleges, recruit 100,000 math and science teachers to teach in our schools and cut college tuition in half over the next decade so our young people build a middle-class life and career in our cities.

A second term with President Obama would also mean implementing his balanced plan to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion, including $1 trillion in spending cuts he has already signed into law. It'll make tough choices and ensure everyone is paying their fair share in taxes.

And President Obama wants to use the money we're spending on war to do some nation-building at here at home, helping our workers rebuild our cities and our country.

But to hear Mitt Romney, you'd have to believe President Obama has done nothing to improve the economy. You'd have to ignore our businesses and neighborhoods that are coming back. And you'd have to believe that doubling down on the trickle-down policies of the past won't crash our economy -- and our cities -- again.

As mayors we look for a partner in the White House. But, like our citizens, we look for someone we can trust and who will lead. That partner and leader is President Obama. That's the message we're sharing with our residents and encouraging them to vote and vote early where they can.

In an election with a clear choice, President Obama deserves a second term to keep moving us forward. And you've got to vote to keep us going.